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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 6, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: come down to the floor to share stories of those victims that have been lost to the epidemic of gun values that is plaguing this nation. the news covers the episodes of mass shooting, like those that happened in my state in sandy hook, but of course every day there are 80 people on average who are being killed in episodes of gun violence. 50 or so of those are suicides. the remaining 30 are in ones and twos and threes and fours and fives all across the country. and the data, i think, is
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overwhelming. and i'm not sure why the numbers alone haven't caused us to act -- and there's a variety ever ways that we could step up and act. we could do something about illegal guns on the street. we could fix our broken mental health system. we could give law enforcement more power to track illegal guns and criminals. but we don't do any of that. we've remained silent and complicit in this rash of murder. but the data hasn't moved this congress, and so my hope is that the stories of those that have been lost and the families they have left behind might move this plies to action. so -- this place to action. so today, mr. president, i want to focus on those victims of gun homicide that have come at the hands of their domestic partner. and of those 30 or so people who are killed by guns who are not suicides, an alarming percentage of them every single day are killed by someone they know -- a
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husband or a spouse or a boyfriend, someone that was very close to them. often with notice, often after having notified the place this they were in danger, that loved one still found a way to get their hands on a firearm and commit a heinous act of murder. on february 27 of this year in woodbridge, virginia -- which is only a short drive away from where we're sit today -- crystal hamilton was killed. crystal's friends described her as kind and humble, energetic, a wonderful person. she actually spent her time working with wounded soldiers returning from afghanistan and iraq. one of her friends said of her, she was so beautiful, she dressed to the nine's, she loved her high heels, she didn't need any makeup. she had an 11-year-old son who
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is now left without a mother. she was supposed to be going out one i saturday night for a girls night with a group of her friends, but after arguing all day with her husband, she finally called 911. she was really upset and feeling gravely in danger. and it is believed that at some point between when she called 911 and when the police arrived that her husband fatally shot her. a neighbor said that she saw the 11-year-old running away from the house, looking back at the house as he ran down the street. quote -- he ran so fast, i can't even imagine how shared he must have been. it broke my heart." about a month later, on march 29, now just about two weeks ago, ruby steelmyer was shot and killed in what was believed to have been a murder suicide by
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her boyfriend. ruby was a dental hygienist in a small firm in orchard park, new york. she'd worked there for 20 years and her coworkers say that her patients absolutely loved ruby. ruby was friendly, she was outgoing, she was athletic, she loved life. her coworkers said that ruby had been a rock for her family after the recent deaths of both of her parents. her boyfriend shot her three times before turning the gun on himself. they'd been dating on and off for about two years. just last week, christina fisher, 34 years old, was killed in leesburg, virginia. she was a proud mother of three young children, a teenage daughter and two younger boys. she was shot multiple times and killed inside her home on saturday evening, april 2, by her ex-boyfriend during a domestic dispute. her 15-year-old daughter was
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home at the time of the altercation and promptly called 911. but by the time she got to the hospital, it was too late. her friends remembered christina in much the same way they remembered the previous victims. she was so sweet, so caring. "she was a great mom. she did everything she could for her kids." christina leaves behind those three young boys. this is just a sample of three people in the last three months who have been killed in episodes of gun homicide by their boyfriend, their domestic partner, or their husband. and we should just know that there's something happening in the united states that isn't happening anywhere else in the world. you are, depending on the other oecd country, about 10 times more likely as a woman to die in an episode of domestic violence,
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to be murdered, by your husband or by your boyfriend than you are in any other country. and it's hard not to read the difference as anything other than a difference in gun laws, a difference in the number of guns that are available to people that would decide to murder their spouse. why? because there's no evidence that men are more violent in any of these other countries. there's no evidence that these countries spend any less money on mental health. in fact, they're spending more money on mental health. as a matter of fact, the united states on average likely spends more. but there's something different about the united states that is hard to explain by anything other than the number of guns that we have and the relatively loose gun laws that create in tragic outlier status.
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and the data on a state-by-state basis backs up the idea that there's something about our gun laws that tells us the story of women being in danger, of being killed by their spouse. because what we know is that in states that do require a background check for every handgun that is sold, there are 38% fewer women who are shot to death by an intimate partner. you can't get around that fact. in states that are universal in their application of background checks, there are 38% fewer women who are shot by their unts matter partners. -- who are shot by their intimate partners. you can't argue about that. the data on women that are murdered by guns by their husband is publicly available. it is not a 5% or 10% or a 20% or a 25% dins. it is a 38% difference. there are women's lives who could be saved if we were requiring people to go through
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background checks. why is that? well, it's because there's been 250,000 gun sales that had been blocked to come to stuck abusers since the national instant criminal background check system was started. these are people that were convicted of domestic abuse crimes. they were known to be domestic abusers who walked into a gun store, tried to buy a gun, and were stopped from doing so because of the federal law. now, that's just the number of people who walked into the store and had the audacity to try to buy a gun, even though they know they had been convicted of domestic abuse. that number is 250,000. but obviously there's ten times that number who never walked into the gun dealership because they knew they weren't going to be able to buy the weapon. but guess where they went? they went on-lune. they went to gun shows -- they went online.
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they went to gun shows. in 2012 alone, it is estimated that 6.6 million guns were exchanged in private transfers without a background check. over 6 million guns were transferred without the purchaser having to prove that they weren't a domestic abuser, that they hadn't committed murder in the past with a weapon, because you can now guy guns easily -- easily -- at gun shows or online. and so that's why 90% of americans believe that we should have universal background checks, because it works and because increasingly people who want to buy guns and use them for moll leaf lent purposes, are able to do so outside the criminal background check system. the numbers are not small. 38% fewer women die in states that do universal background checks. states that have decided to fill the loophole that we have created as a congress, 38% fewer
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women die. we have blood on our hands because if we just got together and closed that loophole, the data tells us that there would be fewer deaths. but let me close, mr. president, by suggesting a couple other ways that we could try to address this epidemic of domestic abuse and of gun homicides perpetuated by intimate partners. and let me first do so by telling you the story of laurie jackson who was 32 years old when she died in 2014 in oxford, connecticut. laurie and her husband scott had had a long, difficult history together. all of her friends knew about the difficulty that the two of them were having. it finally caused laurie to go and submit an application for a
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temporary restraining order. scott had become that violent. in the application, she wrote -- quote -- "scott yelled in my face. he got very angry. i felt threatened and told him i didn't feel safe and was going to leave with the twins." her 18-month-old twins. "he told me i wasn't going to go any wmplet she grabbed my right arm while the two twins were in my arm." so the judge ordered scott to stay away from his wife and the two 18-month-old twins. but because there is a loophole in the law which allows you to buy guns and own guns while you have a temporary restraining order but not when you have a permanent restraining order, one day before that temporary re-strange order was going -- restraining order was going to become a permanent restraining order, scott shot laurie jackson
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galatly four times nlt hand for so with a .38-caliber handgun. today her two little twins have no mother. their father is in jail and they will grow up only hearing stories about her. why? because we can't pass a bill that says, when you have a temporary restraining order against you, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun, that the police should be able during that moment of terror for the domestic spouse, the police should be able to go in and see if you have weapons that you might use in that immediate moment of anger. we could come together on that. we could come together on simply saying, well, you have a temporary restraining order, you can't buy guns. if we had done that prior to 2014, laurie jackson might be alive today.
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or let's take the case of jennifer magnano. she was killed in terryville, connecticut, in 2007. she was in the process of trying to end her marriage to her husband scott who was a controlling and abusive husband. scott and jennifer had two children and jennifer had an older daughter had had been sexually abused by scott for about three years. on april 14, 2007, while he was taking a shower, she finally escaped. and after the end of their time together, scott became so angry that he came back into their house and murdered her. she was posting all the time onto web sites inspirational sayings. she was a really positive, positive person.
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but that couldn't stop her from being murdered by her husband. now, scott had a protective order that was permanent, and so he was actually pron prohibitedm purchasing a weapon. he walked into a gun show and asked to see two handguns. he was handed weapons and the ameammunition for each of them. he was left alone. he saw an opportunity and so he walked out of the store with the handgun and the ammunition. and he went straight to kill his wife. now, the store didn't report the stolen weapons, didn't report the stolen weapons for three days. by that time it was too late. had they, a, monitored the weapon so they could not have been taken out of the store or reported the stolen weapons, it's -p possible that jennifer might be still alive today. well, the administrator of
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jennifer's estate filed the lawsuit against the retailer, bringing claims regarding their inability to secure the weapons and their complete inability to notify local law enforcement that somebody who they themselves said looked like a suspicious customer stole weapons from the store. the judge dismissed that lawsuit saying that a statute that congress passed giving gun makers and dealers virtual immunity for their actions -- quote -- "goes directly to the heart of the jurisdiction here. congress was clear, these cases must be dismissed." congress has granted gun makers and gun dealers almost complete immunity from lawsuits that would hold them liable for irresponsibly selling weapons or irresponsibly making unsafe weapons. the fact is the gun industry is held to a standard that no other
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product maker is held to. they're granted an immunity that is carved out from the broader products liability law. in fact, the maker of a toy gun is held to a higher standard of liability than a maker of a real gun. and this congress passed that statute simply because the gun industry asked for it and because they knew that they were liable for making guns that were intentionally unsafe because they knew that there were dealers that were conducting their activities in an irresponsible manner. and so for the magnano family, they don't even get to bring their case to court. they don't even get to litigate this claim simply because congress has given a level of immunity to the gun industry that they give to no other industry. if we were to repeal that law,
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it would be another way to address this epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country, and specifically women who have the great misfortunate of being the subject of domestic abuse. i'm going to continue to come down to the floor and tell these stories. i hope that there are ways that we can come together. i understand that we might not be able to pass a background checks amendment between now and the end of the year but we could close that domestic violence loophole. we could put more resources in the mental health system, give more resources to law enforcement. there's got to be an answer to the thousands of women who are being killed all across this country by domestic abusers and 80 individuals a day who are being killed by guns all across the united states of america. thank you, mr. president. i yield back.
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mr. president, i'd suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. the senate is in a quorum call. mr. moran: i ask unanimous consent that it be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you very much. i'm pleased to be here on the senate floor today in which we began the debate and discussion on what i think is critical to my home state of kansas and
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important and valuable to the rest of the nation as well. kansas is known as an aviation state. wichita, kansas, is known as the air capital of the world and one would expect a senator from kansas to be especially supportive of things that improve the opportunity for aviation. and that's certainly true. we care about the jobs that are in our state as a result of general aviation manufacturing, as a result of aviation manufacturing for large commercial airlines, and that it matters. f.a.a. is an important component of our environment in our state for a driver of our state's economy. but i also want to point out that i'm a strong supporter of general aviation and reauthorization of the f.a.a. as a result of representing a very rural state. kansas is made up of a number of larger communities, but small cities and towns dot our state, and those local airports and the ability to connect with those
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communities as a result of general aviation, the ability to fly to visit somebody but -p perhaps more importantly the ability for a business to be in a community, a small rural community exists in part because of those general aviation airports and those planes and pilots. and so in communities across our state, we're able to have manufacturing and service industries that probably otherwise, in the absence of an airport, aviation would have to be located in larger cities in kansas or elsewhere. so g.a. and f.a.a. reauthorization is important to every kansan regardless of whether they are a factory line worker in wichita or central, south kansas or whether they are a hospital or manufacturing business or a service located in a small community in our state. so i'm pleased that the senate is beginning to do its work in f.a.a. reauthorization. i serve on the committee on commerce responsible for this
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product, and i'm pleased that the chairman and ranking member have worked closely together to get us to this point today in a bill that i hope, i assume subject to some amendments, i hope this bill passes with strong support across both sides of the aisle. this f.a.a. reauthorization act of 2016 will strengthen the industry by improving the f.a.a.'s process for certifying aircraft. again in that manufacturing sector in our state, one of the things that would be of great value is to have a process by which an improvement, the development, the manufacturing process, the product that we manufacture is more readily and more quickly, more efficiently certified by the federal aviation administration, making certain that those certifications allow those airplane manufacturers to compete in a global marketplace. this bill also addresses the
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pilot bill of rights. and i see i've been joined on the senate floor by the senator from kwro*ebg, -- oklahoma, the champion of this issue. it reforms the third class medical certificate process for general aviation pilots, something that has been long overdue and something that the senator from oklahoma, senator inhofe, has championed and continues to champion. just this week he called me asking for assistance as we make certain that this bill advances and the house approves language that is included in this bill. another essential piece of this bill text, senate bill 2549, is the t.s.a. fairness act. this is a bipartisan piece of legislation that as originally introduced by senator merkley and senator barrasso, the language provides protection for some of our small airports that have commercial air service generally that is possible that that air service is there, that
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small commercial airline flight is there because of the essential air service program. but in order for essential air service to work and to meet the needs of a community in a traveling public, we need to make certain that the t.s.a., the transportation security administration, provides the necessary screeners and screening equipment that you would find at any other larger -- that you would find at a larger airport. we want to make certain that our rural communities that have commercial service often, mr. president, flying to denver international airport, are screened before they enter the plane to ply to -- fly to d.i.a. this legislation includes language that would enhance that circumstance. i'm also encouraged by the efforts in this bill to address the rapidly evolving circumstance we face with unmanned aerial vehicles. that industry is moving forward. again, another kansas industry that matters greatly. and this legislation moves the
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ball forward for an environment where businesses, universities, and countless others can tap into the potential and the vast economic benefits of u.a.s. while maintaining high safety standards that we would expect in the aviation world. i know that my colleagues remember, i remember well the 23 the short-term f.a.a. reauthorizations that have occurred leading up to the 2012 f.a.a. reauthorization bill. it is hugely detrimental to our aviation system to put up, to have to tolerate, to have to figure out how to abide by these short-term extensions that eliminate the opportunity for any long-term planning and create great uncertainty. and i'm pleased that we're headed down the path of a longer-term f.a.a., more permanent reauthorization act represented by this legislation, this act of 2016. and i would ask my colleagues to work all of us together to make sure that the end product is
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something that we can be proud of. we certainly start in a position in which that's the case. and again, i commend senator thune, the senator from south dakota, for his leadership in working with the senator from florida, senator nelson, in getting us to this point today. this is an important piece of legislation for our country and its economy, for our citizens and certainly matters greatly to the folks bam home in kansas -- back home in kansas. mr. president, i yield the floor to the senator from oklahoma. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: first of all, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized as if in morning business to use such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i want to comment, i dramatically shortened my presentation. as i was crossing things off of my list that have already been more eloquently expressed by my friend from kansas. i think it shows he brought out a point i think is significant
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at the first of the year we were able to pass the highway bill, which is a major piece of legislation. it's the first time since 1998 we were able to get a reauthorization bill. and it is because of the, in the interim period of time we had the short-term fixes that the senator from kansas was talking about, and those are expensive, and you can't do major overhauls and improvements and modernization unless you have an authorization bill. and this covers a lot of areas. i want to repeat one thing that the senator from kansas stated, and that is in reference to senators thune and nelson, any time you -- i say this to all of the members of the commerce committee. any time you get a major piece of legislation like that, it covers a lot of stuff. there is always a lot of confusion, some opposition, although not as much opposition to this as we had anticipated would be taking place.
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so there are areas i want to just kind of visit about. i have a special interest in. one is the certification process for general aviation pilots. i know this was mentioned by the, senator moran, but this is something that is very significant and i want to cover it in perhaps a little bit more detail, along with the other areas and an amendment that we have which i'm getting a lot of democrat support on my amendment amending the use of drones and the allowable use of drones. first of all, on the pilots bill of rights, to refresh everyone's memory in the first pilots bill of rights this is something we passed in 2012. it was one that for the first time takes care of a problem that's been out there. the only group of people in america that do not have the opportunity, or did not have the opportunity of the protections, the legal protections in our jurisprudence system are general aviation pilots and other
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pilots. because it allowed the f.a.a. to come in and make all kinds of accusations without giving people the benefit of their, of the evidence that's being used against them. and we passed a good bill. it's called the pilots bill of rights. well, last year at oshkosh -- now, oshkosh is the largest general aviation event of the year. it's one that involves hundreds of thousands of people, and actually thousands of aircraft on the field. i can remember, th-frs the 37th -- this was the 37th, i say to the presiding officer, the 37th annual convention that i have attended and flown in in the last 37 years. and so i'm very familiar with this. of course when i get there, they were interested in the successes that were in the pilots bill of rights. but there are some things that weren't in there that should have been in there, and so we had a session with people --
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there were people from all 50 states and countries around the world. and so one of the areas that is of concern about has been the medical certification process. it's called a third class medical. a third class medical is something that is, goes into a lot of things that are not necessary and sometimes deter the safety factor that's built into medical certification. and so what we did was we reformed that system -- and by the way, i have to say that we have already passed this bill in the senate. the last thing we did before breaking for christmas, ten minutes before we recessed, was to pass a freestanding bill that does exactly -- worded the same way that is in this bill. so this is a backup in case -- since that got bogged down in the house for a period of time, we thought we would put this in here just to make sure that one
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way or another this does become a reality. it's singularly the greatest concern for the large organizations called the experimental aircraft association and the aircraft elders and the aopa. so we have put a system in there that provides, first of all, that pilots still will have to do some of the elements of what was considered to be a third-class medical. now, a third-class medical ten years ago we repealed that or reformed that for pilots of very small aircraft, the light aircraft, and it works -- in fact, there hasn't been one injury or death in the last ten years that could be related to anything, any change that is made in that system. so this just allows the other pilots to have the same benefits that the pilots did in the small aircraft. it does -- pilots still have to complete an online medical education course, pilots are going to have to maintain
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verification that they have seen a doctor concerning anything that might impair their ability to safely fly an airplane. pilots have to complete a comprehensive medical review initially by the f.a.a. so those safeguards are built in. the pilot's bill of rights increases due process protections, establishes for pilots in the original pilots bill of rights. in the original pilots bill of rights, since i have been active in aviation for over 60 years, it was only natural that when problems came up, people would contact me as opposed to their own senators in many cases. and i was concerned and always tried to help people, but until those abuses occurred to me in my -- and i realized all of a sudden i was at risk of losing a pilot's certificate and didn't have the means to defend myself, that's when this whole effort
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was started. this was carried out in the reforms that we intended to put in the first bill that they have not really -- weren't strong enough to get the f.a.a. to comply with we have in this bill. one of those is called notice to airmen. by the way, when i talk about these, these are just -- it doesn't mean a lot to a lot of other people, but there are 590,000 single-issue general aviation pilots in america it means a lot to. so these guys are all very much concerned about it, and they all are out there anxious for this to become a reality. a notice to airmen is something that is required, it has been required for a long period of time so that people will know if you're going to make a flight from airport a to airport b, if there is any problem on that airport where you're going to land in terms of work on the runway or in terms of lights being out or new towers being erected, something like that,
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they have notam s, those are notice to airmen. so this is going to do -- carry into reality the reform that we intended to do in 2012. it also ensures that pilots are going to have access to the flight data such as air traffic communication tapes and that type of thing. so it's good. i know it doesn't mean a lot to a lot of other people but it sure does to 590,000 people. the contract towers. this is a major program. it's kind of interesting. we established a program of contract towers intended to reach areas that didn't really have the unique, normal necessity of information and assistance that they would have in the normal towers, and the towers do a great job now -- i'm talking about now the regular towers but the contract towers also have done a good job. in 2013, the obama administration targeted our nation's air traffic control towers as an unnecessary
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mechanism to make the public feel the pain of nondefense budget cuts. well, that was back during the sequestration time. at that time they were going to close all of the contract towers. and they are saying that these towers don't -- one of the arguments they used, they don't have the traffic that many other towers have. i suggest to you in my state of oklahoma, we have a number of great universities and colleges, but the two largest are oklahoma state university and oklahoma university. they are located in stillwater, oklahoma, and norman, oklahoma. i can tell you right now if they had been successful in closing down those two contract towers on football days when you have literally hundreds of airplanes coming in, all converging about the same time, it would be a life-threatening event. so we now have been able to maintain those contract towers in a cost-sharing program that's
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been very successful in the past, and that is in this bill also. aircraft certification is an issue that we're -- some of us are really concerned about. the oklahoma aerospace industry is a vital and growing component of the state's economy. it's responsible for billions of dollars of economic output of employing thousands of people. the aerospace industry in oklahoma includes commercial, military, general aviation, manufacturing, the testing maintenance activities as well as a vibrant and cutting edge culture of research and development that is located in my state of oklahoma. both of our major universities are an important part of this. with this in mind, i call the bill's inclusion of reforms to the f.a.a.'s process for certifying general aviation aircraft and aviation products such as engines and a.f.c. ottawaics, -- aviotics, removing
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sensitive items that we're all aware of. the bill also ensures that the f.a.a. maintains strong engagement with industry stakeholders. the f.a.a. safety oversight and certification process included performance-based objectives and tracks performance-based metrics. this is key to eliminating bureaucratic delays and increased accountability between f.a.a. n and the aviation community for type certificate resolution or the installation of safety-enhancing technology on small general aviation aircraft. now, i have got an amendment, when the senator from kansas was talking about some of the use od expansion of the use of the u.a.v.'s. we're talking about drones now. drones sometimes have a bad reputation. normally it's not well-founded,
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but there are some areas where there were restrictions in the use of drones which we are -- i have an amendment that will allow drones to be used in areas where it does make sense. and by the way, this is an amendment, i already have several of my democrat supporters and cosponsors, senator whitehouse, senator heitkamp, senator booker are all very enthused about this. to direct the f.a.a. to establish rules to allow critical infrastructure owners and operators to use unmanned vehicles, aircraft assistance to carry out federally mandated -- federally mandated patrol of an area, and that could be in a pipeline or anything else that are currently being patrolled, some by aircraft and this would allow unmanned aircraft to do that same thing, and it's a safety thing because some of these patrols have to take place
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in bad weather, and sometimes risk is involved, but if you don't have a person in the airplane, it's an unmanned plane, then this is the ideal use for it. it does establish a pathway for critical infrastructure operators to use the airspace under the f.a.a. guidelines. there is still f.a.a. under their guidelines, but nevertheless it is an opportunity to use it. so today critical infrastructure owners and operators are required to comply with significant requirements to monitor facilities and assets which can stretch thousands of miles, and this is something that is -- that i think should not be any opposition to this. we hadn't had anyone who i have asked to be a cosponsor deny us so far, and i don't anticipate that we're going to be having a problem. the amendment is supported by a wide array of stakeholders, including the national rural electric co-ops, the american
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public power association, edison electric institute, the wireless association, the american gas association, the interstate and natural gas association of america, american petroleum institute. i can go on and on. but so far, there is not any either organized or just normal opposition as you normally find, so it's very popular. no one that i know of is against it. that's an amendment i will be offering as soon as we start work on amendments. so that will make this bill even a better bill. it's one that again i applaud the -- all the work that has been done by members of the commerce committee and particularly by the chairman and the ranking member, senators thune and nelson, for getting down and getting this done. we're getting into an area where we are really being productive around this body, and i'm very proud to be a part of it. so keep your eyes open on this, and i would encourage any members who have amendments that they want to be included in this
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to come to the floor with their amendments and do what i'm doing right now so that we can get in the queue, we can get started and get this thing done. i don't know when we are anticipating finishing this bill. i don't see any reason why we can't do it if everyone gets amendments down by the end of this next week. with that, i yield the floor. i think we have several speakers lined up that are going to be here, and i -- so i will suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i would ask consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak today about an amendment which is an amendment that senator toomey and i are working orks amendment number 3458. mr. casey: i'll have some remark abouts this amendment to be followed by my colleague from pennsylvania, senator toomey. we know that since 9/11 we've made a good deal of progress on airline security but we know that there are still a number of common sense steps that we can take to bolster security at our airports and on our airplanes. we also know that since 9/11, there have been 15 hijacking attempts around the world. we know that terrorists still aim to repeat those actions and
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improve upon their deadly tactics. it's also of concern that federal programs designed to increase aviation security, such as the federal flight deck officers program, acronym being ffdo, that that program to train and arm pilots continues to experience drastic cuts and reduced budgets. after 9/11 qong mandated -- congressman dated the installation of reinforced cockpit doors and the f.a.a. regulations stated that the reinforced cockpit doors should remain locked while closed. however, pilots and flight attendants must open the door frequently for a variety of reasons, all of them reasons we understand, whether it's to use the restroom or to get a meal, rest times for pilots on international flights when
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they're not in the cockpit. so we know that they have to open that door on a regular basis. simulations have shown that when the door -- the cockpit door is opened, the cockpit can in fact be breached and the plane can be hijacked by one estimate in less than four seconds. a voluntary airline industry movement towards adopting secondary barriers, meaning a barrier other than the actual cockpit door, began in 2003, but a commitment to deploying these devices has waned significantly since the year to 10 -- 2010. senator toomey and i have introduced an amendment that would close a gaping hole in our airline aviation security systems thus achieving what congress intended when it mandated installation of the
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fortress door after 9/11. the amendment that we are working on together is named after a bucks county, pennsylvania resident captain victor saracini who piloted united flight 175 when it was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the world trade center. the memo -- amendment would require that each new commercial aircraft install a barrier other than the cockpit door to prevent access to the flight deck of an aircraft. a secondary cockpit barrier is a lightweight, wire meshed gate installed it the passenger cabin and the cockpit door that's locked into place and blocks access to the flight deck. while the cockpit doors are currently reinforced, secondary barriers provide significantly more security to airline
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companies, to their employees, obviously to the pilots, and of course more security for passengers as well. a 2007 study concluded that the secondary barrier dramatically improved the effectiveness of the other on board security measures currently in place and also works as a stand alone security layer and it's the most cost effective, efficient and safest way to protect the cockpit. there's no way to fully and completely pay tribute to the extraordinary courage of captain saracini and others who were lost on that tragic day. he gave the full measure of his life. as lincoln said in another context, the last full measure of devotion to his country. and he also, of course, gave the full measure not only for his nation but for his wife, ellen, and his family, and they have
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and especially ellen whom i've come to know have worked tirelessly in the years since to increase airline safety for other pilots, for passengers and for the airlines themselves. so i'm urging our colleagues here in the senate to pass this amendment, to continue to strengthen and secure our nation's air space and to further improve airline safety. and i look forward to hearing senator toomey's remarks and grateful to be working with him on this amendment. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank senator casey for his great work on this. mr. toomey: we have been partnering on getting this accomplished for some time now. this is the opportunity to do it. this is the right legislative vehicle. this is the right bill. this is the f.a.a. reauthorization bill. this is exactly where we ought to be taking a common sense step
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toward making commercial aircraft safer to travel on. it's as simple as that. and i'm hoping that very soon we will pass a motion to proceed so that we are on the bill. we have already filed this amendment. as soon as we can we will bring it up so it is pending so we can pass this amendment. this passed the house transportation committee unanimously, and i don't know why it wouldn't have the same outcome here. so i want us to get on this bill. i want to offer this amendment. i want to get on with this. because senator casey is exactly right. in the immediate aftermath of that appalling attack on september 11, congress passed legislation to require that the cabin door be reinforced, become a stronger barrier. and that's exactly what happened. it's a terrific barrier. it's very, very hard to see how anyone could break down the
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cabin door and access the cockpit when that door is closed. the problem is the door is not always closed. it is necessarily, as senator casey pointed out, it is necessarily opened up from time to time during the flight. this is -- this creates the threat. it creates the opportunity for a terrorist who is so inclined to rush that open door, a very well reinforced door is useless when it's open but that is the risk. this isn't just our assessment of this. the f.a.a. has acknowledged the serious nature of this threat. let me quote briefly from their april 2015 advisory. the f.a.a. said and i quote, "on long flights as a matter of necessity, crew members must open the flight deck door to access lavatory facilities, to transfer meals to flight crew members, or to switch crew positions for crew rest
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purposes. the opening and closing of the flight deck door referred to as door transition, reduces the protective antiintrusion, antipenetration benefits of the reinforced door. during this door transition, the flight deck is vulnerable." end quote. this is not some theory here. this is not objective fact. it's observed by the f.a.a. advisory. it is, by the way, the 9/11 commission also observed that the terrorists were very keyed into the notion that the best time to strike would be when a door was open. that was at a time when the primary door was not as well reinforced now. now the opening of the door clearly creates the opportunity for the terrorists. so this threat is real. it persists. there have been attempts to breach cockpit since 9/11.
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there have been successful attempts, including the successful hijacking of a turkish airline flight in 2006. and we know that the secondary barrier that senator casey and i are proposing, we know that this would be extremely effective. it's low cost. it is lightweight. it is not intrusive. it is not deployed at all except immediately prior to opening the primary door. so this is just a common sense solution. as i said, mr. president, it will provide a significant upgrade in the safety of these aircraft. we've got an amendment, and it has been filed and as soon as we can, we would like to make this pending and i would urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment. let's get this passed. let's pass the f.a.a. reauthorization bill and get it to the president. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and i be recognized. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i want to thank the chairman of the commerce committee and the
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ranking member for all their hard work on this f.a.a. reauthorization bill. the commerce committee has done very hard work on it and i'm especially pleased at a provision that directly affects my home state and the city in which i live, phoenix, arizona. since september 2014, residents in arizona around the phoenix sky harbor airport have had their daily lives impacted by changes to flight paths. these changes were made without formal notification to the airport or community engagement before the changes were implemented. these flight changes in phoenix were made as part of the federal aviation administration's ongoing implementation of nextgen. i support the aims of nextgen to approve the safety and efficiency of air travel and modernize our nation's airspace. we will all benefit from the
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improvements that come from nextgen and this provision is not intended to undermine those efforts or diminish the efficiencies that have already been achieved through nextgen. however, the experience my constituents have gone through in arizona demonstrates that improvements need to be made to the process -- the process -- surrounding the implementation of nextgen. the airport and affected community must be a part of the process before these changes are made. it's important that those on the ground, the individuals who have their daily lives impacted the most by this process, have an opportunity to be heard. input from local stakeholders is necessary to ensure that community planning and noise mitigation efforts that have been underway for decades are now taken into a full account. the language in this bill would require the f.a.a. to review certain past decisions and take
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steps to mitigate impacts when flight path changes have a significant impact on affected communities and that is certainly the case of my home city of phoenix, arizona. importantly, this provision would also require the f.a.a. to notify and consult with those communities before making significant changes to flight paths moving forward as has happened which has caused so much difficulty and so much ill effects on the citizens of phoenix, arizona, indeed, the entire valley. the f.a.a. has acknowledged the need to improve community outreach and is undertaking efforts to update their community outreach manual but more needs to be done to guarantee this outreach takes place. the senate had previously agreed unanimously to this language as an amendment to the transportation, housing and urban development appropriations
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bill. however, that bill did not advance in the senate. also, the f.a.a. reauthorization bill that passed the house transportation and infrastructure committee earlier this year also included similar language at the request of myself and my colleague, senator flake. this legislation is necessary to create a long-awaited, much-needed opportunity for residents around phoenix sky harbor international airport negatively impacted by flight noise to have their voices heard by the f.a.a. it's important that the process surrounding changes to flight paths include the local officials, airport representatives and residents -- most of all residents -- that know the issues best both around sky harbor and in communities across the country. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
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mr. president, i ask -- i suggest -- i also would like to thank my colleague, senator flake, for working hard on this reauthorization and this provision that is in this bill. he and i both have been contacted by literally thousands of our fellow citizens and the people we represent in phoenix, arizona, concerning the noise problems around phoenix international airport. it didn't have to happen this way, and i hope that the f.a.a. will go back and get with the people and hear the complaints, hear their problems and fix th them. and i want to thank my colleag colleague, senator flake, for his hard work on this -- on this issue. and i appreciate also, again, the commerce committee and its chairman and ranking member for including this language that is so important to our community in
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this legislation. mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: if i could say a few words on this. i want to thank the senior senator from arizona for all the work that he's put into this. this was, as he mentioned, we've heard from thousands of residents in the phoenix area who have been impacted by this. this language is important because in represent of 2014, the f.a.a. instituted new flight path changes for sky harbor airport without adequately engaging the local community and the stakeholders. and these flight paths, as senator mccain said, they have greatly impacted the residents and the surrounding areas. we've -- we've heard from them with concerns about both the noise and the frequency of these flights. section 5002 of the f.a.a. reauthorization bill would simply improve the f.a.a.'s
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process for instituting new flight paths. the fact that this language is retroactive is especially important because of what we mentioned, communities in phoenix have already been impacted, negatively impacted, by these recent flight path changes and this language would create a process to review those changes and to require the f.a.a. to consult with airports and to determine steps to mitigate the negative effects, including the consideration of new or alternative flight paths. now, going forward, this language would ensure that communities and airports have the opportunity to fully engage with the f.a.a. before these flight path changes are made. again, i want to commend chairman thune and ranking member nelson for including this critical language. i hope that it is supported. we have support for this amendment.
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and with that, mr. president, i yield back the balance of my time and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: mr. president, i ask
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that the proceedings under the quoruconform be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: mr. president, i rise today to call attention to the significant contributions that public servants make to our nation of day. since 2010, i've tried to come to the senate floor on a fairly regular basis to recognize exemplary federal employees. this was a tradition that was starred by my -- started by my friend, senator ted kaufman from delaware, when he was here for a few years, somebody who i think as much as anybody in this body, having served as a staff member for so long, recognizes the enormous value that people who work for our federal government provide to our national purpose and to making sure we get things done. you know, earlier this week i met with some outstanding public servants. convened under the umbrella of the performance improvement council, i had a discussion with individuals participating in both the leadership delivery network and the white house
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leadership development fellowship. these senior administration officials, who are working oftentimes in a little bit of obscurity to improve government performance, come together on a regular basis to collaborate and share best practices. oftentimes on this floor we talk about costs and budget issues. one of the challenges i think we don't spend enough time on is oversight and the fact is that there are many folks within the federal government who are focusing on improving government performance and making sure that we at the end of that also save resources. in the spirit of the work of the p.i.c. which i met with earlier this week, i'm pleased to honor one exceptional employee today who happens to be a virginian, john wagner. as deputy assistant commissioner at the u.s. customs and border protection, mr. wagner conceiv conceived, developed and implemented two groundbreaking
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programs that overhauled the way american citizens and a growing number of foreign travelers enter the united states. at the time, c.p.b. was facing the need for heightened securitg that continues -- while contending with an increase in the number of international travelers, which resulted in long wait times for arriving passengers and a surge in missed flight connections and strained personnel capacity. mr. wagner's innovative solutions to making our century-old international arrivals process work more effectively and efficiently are now familiar to millions of travelers worldwide. those two programs, the global entry trusted traveler program, and the kiosk-based automatic -- automated passport control program. i know as somebody who participates in the global entry program it has obviously sped my transit through many international airports. global entry saves travelers time and ensures a high level of
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security by employing a screening process that includes background checks, personal interviews and fingerprinting. approved travelers then bypass the regular immigration control lines and proceed to the automated biometrics-based self-service kiosks that validate passports, verify fingerprints and perform database queries. this back-end security allows approved travelers to quickly clear through the customs without the need for an interview with a customs officer. global entry is now offered at 48 u.s. airports, including dulles airport in my state of virginia. in addition to streamlining the international arrivals process, the program has resulted in saving over287,000 working hours and reducing the average wait time for members 84% compared to travelers not enrolled in the programmenprogram.
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mr. wagner's other brainchild has shown similar results. the kiosk-based automated passport control program automates the entry processes for those with u.s. passports and travelers from a number of foreign counties. this automation allows c.p.b. officers to focus solely on questioning the individual and observing his or her behavioral responses rather than getting bogged down with administrative procedures. the automated kiosks have resulted in decreases in average wait times for travelers and efficiencies in allocating human resources. mr. wagner described his work best, saying that -- quote -- "it has contributed to the national security of the count country, helped promote travel and tourism that benefits the economy and delivered a public service that has been well received." i hope my colleagues will join me in thanking mr. wagner and government employees at all levels for their willingness to
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be willing to shake up the status quo and their commitment to providing exceptional service to americans across the countr president, i know you and i today were at a budget hearing earlier in the day where i think both of us as former business members sometimes feel like our head's exploding in items of the ability for us to actually get an appropriate audit of federal spending and federal programs. we talked about different processes like the data act, where we can try to get more transparency. we've got to do all this but we also have to recognize and celebrate those federal employees who at the work level are coming up with great, innovative programs like mr. wagner has done. so while we may disagree on many items in terms of how we get to ultimate policy issues, i know the presiding officer has had a very successful career in business, he knows, i know as a former businessperson as well that oftentimes some of the best ideas come from our work force. we need to do


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